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My cousin Ray will be honoring our cousin Patrick today.

Raymond F. O’Conor might be holding the state’s highest remembrance ceremony on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Wilton resident and deputy town supervisor is planning a hike up 4,827-foot Basin Mountain, the last one needed to become an Adirondack 46er, a select group of about 6,800 people that have scaled all 46 Adirondack Mountains with an elevation of at least 4,000 feet.

While celebrating the achievement, he’s also dedicating the climb to two Sept. 11 victims — his late cousin, Navy Commander Patrick Dunn, who died at the Pentagon and the late Donald Kauth, a former Wilton resident who was killed at the World Trade Center.

Since you’re not allowed to say this in a New York subway station anymore, we’d better say it here.

Ace of Spades

Some libertarian-leaning bloggers are making hay over this:

This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture. (my emphasis)

If you want to understand what Rick Santorum is talking about, you have to understand this definition of liberty:

From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. For, if nature had really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty. It likewise follows that freedom in these things may be tolerated wherever there is just cause, but only with such moderation as will prevent its degenerating into license and excess. And, where such liberties are in use, men should employ them in doing good, and should estimate them as the Church does; for liberty is to be regarded as legitimate in so far only as it affords greater facility for doing good, but no farther.

I expect someone who espouses the views of the apostle of objectivism would disagree with it. I’m okay with that, because I’m Catholic and choose to listen to Peter. If it means Santorum can’t keep libertarians in the fold (should he win the nomination), I guess we’ll lose in November. I wish that weren’t the case, but I’m not going to follow a lie, especially for nothing but the hope of winning an election.

Riehl World View

I’ve had this bookmarked because when I first read it, I wanted to watch the video and didn’t have time. Despite Karl’s doubts, the video is still up. Just as I suspected, it’s even better to watch Scalia saying it. He’s passionate, and not a little pessimistic. And for good reason.

Professor Gilbert Morris suggests John Brown is alive in America, somewhere.

I will rarely have anything good to say about the homosexual talk show host, but if she has any good purpose in the world, this is as good as any.

British intelligence agency MI6 hacked an Al-Qaeda online magazine, replacing bomb-making instructions with a recipe for cupcakes, The Telegraph reports.

The joint action by MI6 and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters had agents insert into the magazine an encrypted version of “The Best Cupcakes in America,” published by the Ellen DeGeneres talk show.

Mi6 Hacks Al-Qaeda Website, Attacks It With Cupcakes.

Yes, it’s true. There is someone out there even grimmer than Glenn.

Someone I like to think of as a distant relation, John Joseph O’Connor, once wrote a fine book titled A Chaplain Looks at Vietnam. It defended the U.S. presence in the region at a time when few others would, let alone a Catholic priest serving as a U.S. Navy chaplain. (O’Connor went on to become a rear admiral, Chief of Chaplains, ordinary for the military vicariate, and Cardinal Archbishop of New York.)

I thought of that book today when I got this story in an email from a less-distant cousin of mine. Though it’s a far cry from the feature-length analysis done by O’Connor 40 years ago, it does give us a glimse of that unique perspective seen by men of God ministering to men of war.

When my customary check of didn’t turn up anything, I googled it and found it was actually a blog post. So, rather than forward the email, I figured I’d add a post about it since I haven’t put anything up for awhile. Enjoy!

For years now, I’ve been warning Republicans that conditions are ripe for a principled and activist third party to form on the right – where the Republicans have held a claim for the last 40 years and realistically been the sole occupant since Johnson vs. Goldwater. I’ve never suggested this with the notion that there should be a Conservative Party battling both the Democrats and the Republicans – I’m no fan of third parties, and believe strongly in the two-party system. But those commentators who complain that third parties just don’t work in American politics forget that the Republican Party itself began its existence as a third party. Its founders – the Black Republicans, as we here like to remind everyone they were called back then – understood that the second party of their day had made itself irrelevant by caving in to the Democrats on the most controversial issue in American history.

The leadership of the Whig Party, including Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, took advantage of the death of President Zachary Taylor to push through the Compromise of 1850. While generally popular, many people understood the compromise to be a capitulation by the Whigs to many demands of southern Democrats, including a strengthening of the Fugitive Slave Law. Northern abolitionists felt betrayed, causing their waning support for the Whigs to build into a rout for the them in the election of 1852. Emboldened by their victory, the Democrats passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, breaking decades worth of compromise on the slavery issue. Abolitionists and other defectors from the Whigs could not stand it anymore, and fled to form the Republican Party. Once the collapse of the Whigs became final, the United States still had a two-party system, but the name, strength, and ideology of one of the parties had been completely supplanted by another.

For the past few years, the incoherent message coming from the Republican establishment has made an all-too-familiar sound of “Me Too”. Big-government heath care may be associated with the Democrats today, but its greatest victory so far was a huge prescription drug benefit passed by a Republican president who wanted to be known as “a compassionate conservative”. Campaign finance reform that put a stranglehold on private speech and promoted funding limits was once just a Democratic dream, but it came true once it was championed by a Republican senator who identifies with progressivism. And just days ago, a pro-abortion, pro-group-rights Republican candidate pulled out of a race only to endorse her Democrat opponent over a conservative challenger.

That Democrat may have won his race against the upstart from the New York Conservative Party, but with the light of dawn that may well be the cap of the bad news for Democrats, and the beginning of the end for the “Me Too” Republican Party. Conservative Republicans won races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, and after the revolt in NY23 (funded and supported by conservatives across the country) the national party has been put on notice that conservatives are done supporting liberals just for the sake of party unity. The loss of NY23 may be a disappointment for some, but a victory for the Conservative Party there might have sent the wrong message to conservatives – encouraging them to defect from a Republican Party far stronger than the Whigs were when the Republicans began their move to assume second-party status.

The Republican Party can still be the conservative party for America, but time is running out. The Republican establishment has to understand that the party itself needs a center to rally around, and the tendency of our recent leadership to bend to the left isn’t going to expand the Big Tent, it’s going to bring it crashing down.

A conversation is going on over at AoSHQ between the head ewok and the moron from Des Moines. I rise in support, in as much as that’s practical.

I honestly have no desire to push people away who would may agree with me on some issues and help me win elections. But I also have no desire to hide who am and what I believe in order to sucker people into agreeing with me and helping me win elections.

Ronald Reagan believed in building the biggest tent and winning every election, and yet was an exceptional conservative who never hid who and what he was, and to this day defines the standard all conservatives should follow.

Am I a purist, or am I sellout to the big tent? With reservations, I think I can answer Yes on both counts. But of those who disagree with me on either point, I will at the same time vigorously oppose their philosophy and eagerly seek their support in getting the best possible (usually Republican) candidate elected. There is no contradiction.

I normally don’t like people trying to guess what a historical figure would or would not say in current circumstances. Those who make such attempts usually try to get the selected historical figure to espouse or say things that they never in a million years would have expressed in real life, and would have them spinning in their graves were they to actually hear what was being attributed to them. But there are always exceptions… like this video. I think Thomas Paine would be proud of this.

Update: You know what they say… no Paine, no gain!

Back in December, remembering that TIME’s Man of the Year and various other awards would start flowing from the halls of the rich and witless, I thought fleetingly of posting my usual call for nominations for our annual The Black Republican of the Year honoree. That the post was never published should not be recognized as part of my usual, chronic apathetic falling-down. On this occasion, I intentionally dispensed with the tradition, for there seemed to me to be only one choice.

By a mile.

Maybe even by 663,268 square miles.

The year 2008 was a bad year for conservatism. It began with the continuation of a presidential campaign unprecedented for its length, the victory of a lethargic and erratic candidate for the Republican nomination who was barely on speaking terms with most of the party, and the victory in the Democratic primaries of an ultra-left socialist who offered plenty of platitudes for the simpleminded, but not much else. And that was almost the high-water mark. The outgoing President seemed unwilling to do more than fight the war, which as things go is pretty important and admirable, but not very encouraging when the other side is promising to capitulate at the first opportunity. It was looking more and more like conservatism was gasping for its last breath, just like all the pundits and commentators were (and still are) claiming.

But news of the death of our ideology was a bit premature. We still had life to offer, and as John McCain prepared to announce his running mate, we were about to respond enthusiastically to the arrival on the national stage of a young, vivacious, and unashamed conservative voice few of us had given proper attention. The governor of the last frontier state, an avid hunter, a prominent and unrelenting defender of the value of human life, an expert in energy policy, a soon-to-be grandparent at just 44. And just to make things even more interesting, that new conservative voice was pitched in the mezzo-soprano range.

Here was a vice-presidential candidate who may not have been able to do enough to save John McCain from defeat. But those of us on the right who, up to that point, were barely able to picture ourselves going to the polls can attest that there was probably no one short of Dutch’s ghost who could do that. Yet the person McCain chose as his running mate may have been the only one who could prevent “the Maverick” from being yet another laughingstock presidential candidate from Arizona. Without a doubt, she – and she alone – prevented a total implosion of the Republican Party in 2008. While every other piece of evidence suggested to us that there was no hope the GOP would stop sliding into the pit of apathy and irrelevance from which the Whigs never returned, here was a bright light that told us: ‘There is still hope for the Party of Abraham Lincoln.’

On this, the bicentennial of the birth of our Founder, we are proud to honor The Black Republican Of The Year for 2008: Sarah Louise Palin.

I was actually looking for a picture of Frederick Douglass, and Google Images sent me here. But curiosity got the better of me, and I stopped worrying about the image, and started poking around the site. I was somewhat confused by the tone of the rhetoric until I caught sight of this image and commentary:

The Sunday-only version of Opus or Outland or whatever Breathed calls it now lacks the daily wit and topical humor of the old Bloom County.

Take, for example, this prescient cartoon panel from 1988, when Frank Jones, the father of Oliver Wendell Jones, accurately predicts the political leaning of the first black American president.

You’re absolutely right – we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. It’s Hartford, Connecticut, where “progressives” relieve the symptoms of leftism by cross-posting complaints at two different blogs (one of which is delightfully-named, but fairly obscene) about how Chris Dodd let them down for not wanting to burn Joe Lieberman at the stake.

Since the Breathed article was posted back in July, I wondered if the blogger in question had since been captivated by the spell of The One leading up to, or after, the election. I was rewarded by finding this “thrilling” post:

The verdict is far from in on Obama. I am trying not to form an opinion of his presidency yet. He hasn’t even taken the oath of office.

Yet the soft changes his leadership brings are amazing. And I don’t use that lightly. He almost sounds like Spiderman talking to Barbara Walters:

That if you’re placed in a position of power, then you’ve got responsibilities to your workers. You’ve got a responsibility to your community. That if – there’s got to be a point where you say, ‘You know what, I have enough, and now I’m in this position of responsibility, let me make sure that I’m doing right by people, and, and, acting in a way that is responsible.’ And that’s true, by the way, for members of Congress, that’s true for the president, that’s true for Cabinet members, that’s true for parents. I want all of us to start thinking a little but more, not just about what’s good for me, but let’s start thinking about what’s good for our children, what’s good for our country. The more we do that, the better off we are going to be.

Not only that, but he is calling for captains of industry to forego their end-of-the-year bonuses. His rhetoric of veiled redistribution is thrilling. When was the last time we heard that out of the White House?

I post all this, so that when veiled redistribution takes it’s burka off in Washington, you won’t let life get you down. Just remember that somewhere in the Nutmeg State someone will be gnashing their teeth that Uncle Tom let you keep anything at all.

I got this essay in an email the other day. It starts like this:

Who would have thought that the opening of the brand new Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) in Washington, D.C. would be divinely ordained?

It certainly came as news to one particular Senator with a strong aversion to such a can of worms, Jim DeMint of South Carolina. In a recent statement, the Senator came down hard on the CVC, particularly the displays therein which, he claims, “are left-leaning and in some cases distort our true history.”

One prominently engraved quote really has Mr. DeMint and other conservatives fuming. As it reads:

“We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.”

So, the Capitol is a temple? Last I checked it was a very expensive American Neoclassical office building. And last I heard the Constitution was one of the nation’s most important political documents–which many in our current political establishment regard as a cumbersome hindrance rather than an “oracle” to be consulted.

Since it seems like so many people I respect on the ‘net tend to drift into the atheistic camps of Ayn Rand Objectivism, I thought it would be interesting just to post this and say: “Discuss”. Hopefully one or two of you are still reading.

I don’t know what it is, just what exactly has spurred this feeling so strongly today, but I am declaring today an Emergency Memorial Day here at TBR. Perhaps it’s the fact that the “spiritual advisor” for a man that has an all too real chance to be the next American President is preaching a philosophy of “God Damn America” as opposed to “God Bless America”and nobody in the MSM seems to care. Or perhaps it’s because I feel wounded in my soul by the disrespect some Americans show toward the Military (the ones fighting to preserve their very right to be disrespectful, BTW). Perhaps it’s because I know that with the coming elections the future of this grand experiment we call The United States sits upon the edge of a knife.

Whatever the reason, I can say with absolute confidence that, in some place and at some time, on this date in history an American died as a champion for Freedom and to further the cause of Liberty. And today – like every day in my life – I thank God for His Grace allowing me to be born an American, and I thank Him for and pay tribute to those that have fought and strove, lived and died, that this country and the ideals of Liberty and Freedom persevere – not just for Americans, but for the world.

Toward that end, I draw your attention to tonight’s the Glenn Beck Show (7pm & 9pm, EDT) where you will hear the story of… America (Hat tip to Fury’s Fiancee), and America’s finest.

For SFC Stube and his brothers and sisters in arms who have given and continue to give, and to those who have given the last full measure of devotion, to and for this country and to all who love freedom…

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the USA.

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